Amazonbasics Shredder Not Working: Causes & Fixes

The Amazonbasics shredder is a game changer, especially if you are someone who doesn’t want sensitive information on documents, credit cards, and the like. And it can be frustrating when such a machine stops working.

If you just discovered that your shredder won’t shred paper anymore, this blog post is for you. In it, we will cover the reason why your Amazonbasics Shredder is not working, plus DIY fixes that can help!

amazonbasics shredder not working

Amazonbasics Shredder Not Working: Likely Causes

Knowing why your Amazonbasics is not working will help you save time trying random fixes. Below, we’ve highlighted the most common ones.

1. Power Supply Issues

The Amazonbasics will fail to work if there’s any disconnection from the power supply. You need to check for a green indicator light close to the switch. If there’s no light, the power outlet may be faulty.

Also, check for fraying on the power cord. The issue could also be caused by a broken switch. For instance, if it feels too loose when moving, it may need replacement.

2. The Head isn’t Well-Seated

If the unit head is not placed correctly or tilted on the shredder’s basket, it will not work. This is due to the SafeShed, which “auto-disables” the shredder to protect your fingers.

3. Shredder is Overheated

Overheating can cause your Amazonbasics shredder not to work or shut down automatically. Typically, the shredder’s head will feel warm to the touch. You may also perceive a light, burning odor.

The major reason for overheating is non-stop shredding — where just too much volume of paper needs to be shredded over a single session.

4. Incorrect Mode Settings

The switch is located at the top of the head unit, and you must push it to align with the “Auto/On” mode, so it can begin shredding. It may not sound simple, but if it’s not, your Amazonbasics shredder won’t work.

5. Problems with the Sensor

It is most likely an issue with the sensor — if you can hear the whirring sound of moving shredder blades when you switch the Amazonbasics to “reverse” mode, but it still won’t shred any paper in the “Auto/On” mode.

Sometimes, the sensor may be fine, but the paper to be shredded is just too narrow to activate the sensor. In some cases, the sensor may need cleaning or a complete replacement. If that’s not the case, the shredder could be jammed.

6. The Amazonbasics Shredder is Jammed

When the shredder is jammed/stuck, the device won’t take in papers. The blades may be constantly rolling, but that’s only because the sensor feels there’s a paper to be worked on.

7. Broken Shredding Gears

If you’ve been using the Amazonbasics shredder for quite some time, the gears that turn the shredding blades may have become worn out. As an indicator, you should hear a screeching sound from inside the shredder. If that’s it, there may be a need for a gear replacement.

Amazonbasics Shredder Not Working: How to Fix

Here are some DIY fixes that can help get your Amazonbasic working again.

1. Use the Shredder Correctly

No big deal at all. When starting to use an Amazonbasics shredder, there are a couple of things to do. Your shredder might not work if you’re doing things correctly. Here’s a checklist you can follow.

  1. Make sure you are inserting the paper right in the middle of the feed slot.
  2. Ensure that the waste basket is properly leveled and that the head unit is correctly interlocked with it. Note that you will hear a clicking sound while locking it.
  3. Don’t try to shred many sheets of paper at once.
  4. Feed paper smoothly into the shredder.
  5. Only put in shreddable materials e.g. typically paper, credit card e.t.c
  6. Only feed in one credit card or CD at a go.
  7. Empty the waste basket regularly.

2. Allow the Shredder to Cool

All amazonbasics shredder have their duty cycle. Once this time has reached, it may shut down automatically due to overheating. For instance, some “micro” shredders can only work continuously and optimally for about 15 minutes.

If the shredder overheats, what do you do? Turn the unit off and, as a rule of thumb, wait for at least 30 minutes before trying to shred the paper again.

3. Lubricate the Shredding Gears

If your Amazonbasics shredder isn’t working, apply lubricants to its gears. Even without issues, you should do this monthly. The oil will reach the gear when you directly apply it to the blades.

The oil can be a vegetable, cooking oil, or shredder oil. Ensure you turn off the shredder first. Also, you can get blade sharpening and lubricant sheets from the Amazon Basics store.

4. Unclog the Shredder

If the shredder is jammed, there are different ways of freeing it up. The first one is to switch the shredder into “reverse” mode. In reverse mode, the blades will turn back and loosen the clogged paper. You may have to repeat this process again and again to effectively clear up the machine.

Another method is to drizzle shredder oil or cooking oil (never use aerosol)  into the feed slot area where the paper is jammed. Wait and allow it to soften for about 30 minutes. Then, you can use a thick stack of cards or rigid paper (e.g. old birthday cards) to help push the remaining jammed paper through.

5. Clean the Sensor

The activator sensor can be triggered by dust or debris, causing it to malfunction. A simple way to get around this is to clean it. You can use a Q-tip or cotton swab to clean the sensor but never use canned air. You will find the sensor at the centre of the feed slot.

6. Troubleshoot Power Supply

If it’s an issue with the power supply, you won’t hear the whirring sound of the fan blades. Also, the green light would be off. Start by testing whether the power outlet is functioning. You should also try different power outlets, and replace the power cord if it’s damaged.


By following the simple steps in this blog post, you should be able to keep your shredder running smoothly, while ensuring it stays a dependable tool for safeguarding sensitive information.